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Judge Smith Stays Injunction on Texas Planned Parenthood Funding

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By Robyn Hagan Cain on May 01, 2012 4:04 PM

Texas Planned Parenthood clinics will be short on money while federal courts debate the constitutionality of a state law that cuts funding to the program.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith -- currently the judicial branch's most famous proponent of judicial review -- stayed an injunction this week that would have restored Planned Parenthood funding, reports The Austin Chronicle.

Texas passed a law last year that essentially excluded abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, from receiving funding from the Texas Medicaid Women's Health Program as of May 1. Planned Parenthood sued to block implementation of the law, and won a temporary injunction on Monday from Judge Lee Yeakel in a Texas federal court. Judge Smith, however, stayed the injunction, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Judge Smith has given Planned Parenthood until 5 p.m. CST on Tuesday to file an opposition brief to the state's appeal.

Lawyers for the state argue that Judge Yeakal's injunction would cause Texas women irreparable harm. Since Texas law prohibits public money from going to abortion-promoting services, they claim that the order would force the state to either shut down the Texas Women's Health Program or violate state laws, according to Fox News.

This isn't the first controversy associated with the Texas plan to deny Planned Parenthood funding. The Obama administration announced in March that it would withdraw federal funding -- approximately 90 percent of the state's Medicaid budget -- from the state's $35-million Medicaid program because the abortion provider funding ban violates women's right to pick the best available healthcare provider, the L.A. Times reports.

Planned Parenthood has announced that it will submit an opposition brief to Judge Jerry Smith, but there is no indication when he will issue a final decision.

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